Acculturation, Self-Esteem, Body Dissatisfaction, and Eating Disorder Symptoms among Latinas
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the role that acculturation and acculturative stress play in predicting symptoms of eating disorders among Latinas. Research suggests that Latinas may be at increased risk of eating disorders relative to White women because acculturative stress entails experiencing the mainstream ideal thin female body as unattainable. This study will test whether or not acculturative stress decreases self-esteem, which increases body dissatisfaction, and if body dissatisfaction increases the frequency of experiencing symptoms of eating disorders. The data for this research project were collected in February 2017 via an online survey of Latina students at a mid-sized western state university. Email messages were sent out inviting Latinas to complete a self-administered online survey that ensured responses would be completely anonymous. Multiple prizes based on a lottery selection method were used as an incentive to increase survey participation. Unlike previous research, the results demonstrated that the association between acculturation and eating disorder symptoms is mediated by acculturative stress wherein low acculturation predicts high acculturative stress, which in turn predicts eating disorder symptoms via self-esteem and body dissatisfaction. The results of this study have significant implications for treatment of eating disorder symptoms among Latinas by informing health practitioners about the specific risk factors for this ethnic group.